Over the last few months, I’ve spent a lot of time in small Texas towns. A number of these communities are struggling, and on more than one occasion I’ve been told the story of when the big box stores moved into town. At first, everyone was thrilled to have the kind of services that larger towns and cities experienced. Yet, the reality is that the big box stores consolidated the customer base of the smaller, locally-owned mom ‘n pop business that had been in town for, in some scenarios, generations. Which meant that those business owners, their employees and suppliers no longer had work. They had to leave town.
This isn’t the story told in every community, but in these communities, as more and more local business owners went out of business and left town, eventually the big box stores began to suffer as well. Eventually, they closed up and left town too. In towns such as this, they find themselves hanging on by a thread, but when I visited guess what I saw in the faces of those left behind? Hope! Those that hadn’t given up, that stuck it out…they had plans. They weren’t giving up on these towns and they had ideas about how to bring life back into these neglected communities. Do you know what those ideas entailed? Small, local businesses. It wasn’t the big corporate industry leaders that could do everything that were going to bring these communities back from the brink. It was the small, nimble niche business owners that could move quick, be flexible, required minimal investment and could be specific to that town…these were the kind of businesses the locals had hope in. And I saw signs of it working.
Why do I share this? Because its easy to think that the big guys, those with the biggest reach, most locations and largest budgets, are better suited to meet needs and get the job done. But in more scenarios than you likely imagine the big guys can be detrimental, and instead what we need is your small and scrappy efforts—whatever that may be. In fact, it may be that there is someone longing for you to show up and bring your small batch project to bring hope and healing. Get to it!
This article originally appeared here.